Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's Hammertime!

Alright, I really probably shouldn't have done this this way, but as I've been working my arse off for the last few months, I really haven't had time to blog all of the videos I've done with Mary Katharine Ham, much less all the other massive number of pieces I've done for the Daily Caller in any meaningful way.

So, for the second post of my epic blogging weekend, I have decided to post a ton of Hammertime videos more or less in order, and do a quickfire "blurb" about each one.

I finally took the time to post them all over on my actual YouTube page, so I know that the embed locations will be relatively secure for some time into the forseeable future. That said, if you want to watch more of them - please visit the Daily Caller's website and search for them there as that contributes to page-views, which contributes to me continuing to be employed over there.

Anyway, without further adieu, here we go!

1. "How Four Loko Became Ethanol"

I know I did blog about this, because it was kind of a big deal as I was living in New York and was hired to travel down to DC to do the video. I won't say too much more about it here, except to say that I was thrilled to have the gig, and to kick off my association with this series with a solid pro-liberty effort like this made me very happy.

Behind the scenes notes: I was totally unprepared for how crappy an audio environment the Daily Caller offices really are. Also, our home brewed "Four Loko" was some of the most disgusting stuff I've ever had in my mouth. Truly gross... Yet again, here I am defending the right of people to do stuff that I wouldn't want to participate in in a million years.

College kids can drink all this crap they want, but count me out!

2. "The New Mother-F***ing Tone!"

Just after the Gabriele Giffords shooting, and for probably the 6th time in my life, we were all told of how "dangerous" the political climate is and how uncivil the partisan rhetoric has become... Generally, this was directed at the political "right" in America - by which I really just mean Republicans, and as always, American libertarians. Minutes later, the political "left" was back to being just as ridiculous and outrageous in terms of rhetoric and a media which scolded the Tea Party and blamed Sarah Palin for inducing violence against Giffords (which had literally nothing to do with it, by the way), utterly ignored the rhetoric of their favorite team.

MKH and I did not ignore it, and this was the first video I produced as a W2 employee of the Daily Caller.

3. "Moore National Resources"

Then came the Scott Walker protests in Madison, Wisconsin... Which of course got Michigan "native" Michael Moore to join in on the idiocy.

Moore predictably claimed that America had all the money in the world and contrary to reality and heaping piles of economic data, "America isn't broke". According to Michael Moore, all we needed to do was just needed to tax the rich!

Never mind that even if you taxed 100% of all the richest people in the nation's money away, destroying millions of jobs and companies in the process by the way, you still wouldn't even collect enough to cover just this year's deficits. Michael Moore is a crap economist, but who knew he was so bad at basic arithmetic?

...Well, yeah, ok... We all knew that too, didn't we?

4. "Japan Needs Your Help"

It's very likely that this will be one of my proudest productions for the rest of my life. Not only am I extremely happy with the production quality, which I spent some real time on to make it look really good, it's also got a powerfully important message.

There is nothing worse than bad economics being used to promote horrific ideas in the face of epic devastation, and there's nothing more offensive to me personally than watching bad ideas get used to mask the horror of something like Japan's crushing tsunami.

What is equally depressing is that the same thought process that could believe Japan's destruction has an economic "silver lining" is the very same thought process guiding economically destructive policies right here in America like Cash for Clunkers, TARP and other bailouts, and it's the same asinine idea that has led so many to believe WWII "got America out of the Great Depression".

It's a horrendous confluence of bad reasoning and misleading statistical methodology (particularly observing unemployment and GDP irrespective of what those numbers actually represent) that rightly earns economists a label of uncaring and economics itself a label of a strangely inhuman science.

The lack of focus on the individual humans and their unique wants & needs has indeed been mainstream economics' biggest shortcoming for decades... The response of men like Larry Summers in the wake of the Japan disaster only brought it to the surface.

5. "MSNBC: A Fuller Spectrum of News"

Not exactly a "Hammertime" video, but it did mark the beginning of my consistent mockery of MSNBC, and holy hell it's all so well deserved! MSNBC in this case ran a special on essentially "what black people want" in America hosted by a guy who's certainly in the running for "Whitest guy on TV", Ed Schultz.

Yes, that's the same Ed Schultz who would go on to be suspended for calling Laura Ingraham a "slut"...

MSNBC has long been one of the most lily-white networks around, and while honestly that wouldn't alarm me all that much in general, they then run idiotic collectivist specials like this one, pretentiously reducing the entire black American population into a unified group which has an identity that they can crack in a couple hours.

6. "A Taxpayer Can Dream"

A fun Tax Day video that was literally a film-school style short film shot in one day and edited pretty much the next. Needless to say, an immense amount of work for me. Although, that's pretty much a recurring theme here. All of these things are an immense amount of work for me and with almost no time.

Woot. Special appearances by Mike Riggs & Jeff Winkler.

7. "Peep Didn't Start The Fire"

Ooooooh boy, if I complained about the amount of "work" it took to do the Taxpayer Can Dream video, this one was 10x that amount of work. Literally 40-50 hours of work for me crammed into just 3 days.

The story, which I wrote about a bit already, goes like this:

Mary Katharine wanted to do something with Peeps for Easter. I agreed and thought it would be hilarious to do 20-30 seconds of stop-motion animation Peeps in the video. Mary Katharine said "aww, that's too much work". So I said... "No no, it's not so bad", and I took about a half an hour and shot a 5 second test video and sent it to her. Now, keep in mind at this point I was thinking we'd only do 20-30 seconds and have it be intercut with MK talking on camera.

The hilarious thing about it is that Mary Katharine's response was "Oh, that's great, let me think about it."

This was Tuesday before Easter.

Later that night, I get a text message that says something to the effect of "OMG I thought of something great!"

Cut to: Wednesday morning.

First words (more or less) out of Mary Katharine's mouth to me in the morning were, "Hey, can you re-do Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire'? I wrote some lyrics last night..."

Yeah... So, from there I pretty much saw where she was headed. By Wednesday at about noon, I'd completely re-written/recorded the song and by that afternoon, we had started shooting little scenes on a mini green-screen studio I set up. By the next morning, all the voice parts had been recorded and I started diligently working on the After Effects bits... Man... Honestly, it was a mess.

All this time, Mary Katharine was dressing peeps and shooting scenes and then I was processing all the footage, keying out backgrounds, adding animations, etc... Slowly piecing the whole thing together with the music.

It was utterly insane.

For the record, I do not recommend doing a stop-motion animated music video in three days... It was exhausting.

8. "ObamaCare Chatroulette"

Also not exactly a "Hammertime" video, but one of Mary Katharine's ideas... I'm pretty much always going to be up for mocking Presidents, so... I had a good time.

9. "The New Federal PLAN"

The Federal Government had this plan under Bush, I think... But good lord it's dumb. It also doesn't even make sense. The idea is that when an emergency happens, the Feds have everybody's cellphone information so that they can send out pertinent information.

Here's the thing... In a serious state of emergency - of the kind I "need" information from the government to cope with - the likelihood that cellphone networks will still be operational seems rather slim.

If the network is still available, then literally all the information I need can be obtained privately, through news, Facebook, Twitter, text messages, phone calls, etc.

In the meantime, the reality is that the only thing the Federal Government could really use people's cellphone information is tracking them. Not to get all tin-foil-hat on everybody, but I honestly can't think of another use for them to have the information they seek... My guess is that the true purpose has nothing to do with emergency services and everything to do with providing the government with an easier way of keeping tabs on it's subjects citizens.


That's all for now. There are four or five more recent Hammertime videos, but they actually already have their own postings

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